Friday, September 24, 2010


                                Cosmic Dust Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm

This new painting above has been in my mind's eye for awhile. I wanted to create an image which exposed the possibility of the nano and vast at the same time. So, whilst I had in mind an 'landscape' image of the Earth in space, I wanted to pose the possibility that our idea of 'landscape' can be untethered from Earth... that maybe a sub-atomic entity or at the other extreme even a whole Universe provide new perspectives of what 'landscape' really is.

I have recently finished reading 'Just Six Numbers' by Martin Rees, Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. In this book he analyses the six numbers that explain the sensitive balance of the Universe we inhabit. Whilst reading this book I could not help but think about some of my previously expressed ideas on perspective, and more significantly on the need to learn skills in 'seeing' multi perspectives simultaneously. To understand not only our globalised world in which we live locally, but to appreciate the 'world' beyond our sky, beyond our galaxy and even further, we need to 'see' the accelerating distances in the nano and the vast. If we 'see' them we can understand why preserving life and our environment is important ...because the human race may not have anywhere else to go!

In Cosmic Dust   I have painted a circle with two trees...yes my much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life. These trees meet at their trunks. One tree is painted in cool colours and the other in warm ,representing change through cycles. The 'tree ball' is encircled by a glimmer of white light, which represents anything and everything from Earth's atmosphere, to reflected sunlight, to divine light and more. The background seems to move with suggested light and colour, depth and space... substance of existence?

I have used my tree-of-life, as regular readers would know, to represent life in all its systematic processes. The tree, in an instant, can be read as the vascular-like force of life whether it be at sub-atomic, atomic, human, planetary or universal levels. It can be read as any kind of system with an impulse to create and sustain life. It branches out and roots itself into the 'landscape' of all existence.

As I painted Cosmic Dust I found myself constantly moving back and forth to examine the image from close and far distances. I have written about what I call the 'artist's dance' before, commenting that it could be a metaphor for how we need to view our world [local, global and universal]. We need to move! My mother has just seen Cosmic Dust and I was very pleased to see her doing the 'artist's dance' too. She even commented on what the painting looked like when she viewed it up close, and then from a distance. And, I did not tell her to do this! I like to think the 'artist's dance' is a clue to the artistry of living life to its fullest.

The title Cosmic Dust signifies that subatomic, atomic, human, planetry and even universal entities are the dust created in those nano seconds after the Big Bang. As the dust  coalesced into the material substance of life, it makes one think about our connection to everything. The 'landscape' of life lives through us and beyond.

B AWARE exhibition

I have had 5 paintings chosen for this exciting exhibition: Here's links to 2 of them:

'B Aware' is a curated exhibition organised by the 8GG, Eight Goals Group, which is a group of concerned Anglicans raising awareness of global issues surrounding social justice and poverty as outlined in the UN's Millennium Development Goals, 2000.

Dates: 8-21 October 2010. Daily 9.30 am - 4.30 pm

Opening: Friday 8 October 6.30pm. To be opened by Archbishop Dr. Phillip Aspinall.

Free entry. All art is for sale.
Artists selected for 'B Aware' include Proppa NOW group artists, Gordon Hookey, Jennifer Herd and Richard Bell: Young refugees from Brisbane's Milpera High School...Plus...Glenda Orr, Clinton Cross, Karen Kaese,Vincent Serico, Cernak Cernak, Meryn Jones, Jennifer Andrews, Kerry Holland, Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox, Michael Baartz, Joe Nalo, John Suine and many more. Artists are from PNG, Indigenous and local communities. The curator is Joan Winter.
The UN's 8 Millenium Goals, agreed upon by 189 countries in 2000, focus upon eradication of hunger and poverty, achievement of universal primary education, gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction of child mortality, improvement of child mortality, combatting HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, ensurement of environmental sustainability and the support of a global partnership for development.!/event.php?eid=114955445225116


Friday, September 17, 2010



In my previous post Smorgasbord I explained that I had been having some fun painting a series of small paintings. They are all 10 x 15cm and gouache on paper. I've uploaded another 4 paintings for you.

As you can see my much loved tree-of-life motif is dominant. I love the way it can represent systems of all kinds. I often wonder if the form of a tree holds the secret to the ultimate template of life in our universe or...maybe...multi-universe? I wonder if it holds the code to, what could be called, the master template. In my imagination I can 'see' how the tree, with its branches and roots, hints at the substance of the nano at the same time as giving clues to the forces which propel the universal and vast.


Regular readers will understand my interest in the forces which possibly link the nano and vast. My fascination with perspective, both literal and metaphoric, has taken me on an exploration of the close and far distances between them. I 'see' this exploration as holding clues to how we could negotiate the distance between the local and global, as we live locally in an increasingly globalised world. Yet, our struggle seems so small when placed against the life forces propelling all existence. It kind of puts it into perspective don't you think?


The secrets encoded in age-old symbols, such as the tree-of-life, are a constant fascination to me. I am interested in representing the 'tree' in a way which means something to us in the 21st century, rather than it being simply of historical importance. So, whilst I enjoy looking at, and reading about, past representations of the tree-of-life, I believe that the potential of age-old symbols is tethered if we merely replicate previous portrayals. The potency of  these symbols is that they hold core truths that can be understood, if investigated and contemplated, over eons. This potency does not dissipitate into the vagaries of fashion, or the vacuousness of celebrity, or the pithy meaninglessness of transient symbols. Rather, it resonates at deep core levels of life and existence, even if we cannot quite put our finger on it.  


Sunday, September 12, 2010


Over the last few weeks I have been painting an array of small paintings 10 x 15 cm. These paintings are fun works which have given me the opportunity to experiment with paint and subject matter. Here are six of these small paintings for you to see...a smorgasbord!

I am still painting a large oil on linen painting and it will be finished... maybe... this week.

BUT there is more news. Please scroll down past the six images of small paintings for news about the Tattersall's Art Prize.


I was thrilled to be one of the 72 artists from around Australia who was invited to exhibit in the Tattersall's $20,000 Landscape Art Award. The winner was announced on Wednesday night. Well known artist Davida Allen was the lucky prize winner, with another well known artist, Elisabeth Cummings, receiving the second prize.

The Tattersall's Exhibition will be publicly displayed from 13-24 September at Waterfront Place, 1 Eagle St, Brisbane, from 7 am -6 pm weekdays. Please do visit the exhibition. I am sure you'll really enjoy it. All paintings are for sale too! here's a link to the online gallery to whet your appetite.

The painting I entered into the prize is below 'Halo: Protecting Earth's Biosphere'  Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm
Here are two links to previous posts about this painting. 

Saturday, September 04, 2010


I am currently working on a large painting which I'll be able to load up on the BLOG soon. This new painting causes an oscillation of perspective...and as regular readers of this BLOG know...I am fascinated by perspective and distance. But, until then I am going to introduce you to RISK!

RISK, above, is from my series looking at water and the various issues that surround this fundamental life giving and sustaining gift to the planet. My last post 'Airspace and Phantoms' showed you some of my recent works on paper that also look at issues of water ie: irrigation, entitlements, coal seam gas industry [CSG] and so on.

But, RISK, whilst still inspired by water issues, is a work where I wanted to question how risk is analysed. For instance, the Coal Seam Gas [CSG] industry promotes itself as a provider of  'cleaner' energy...reducing emissions etc. This declaration has been questioned, particularly when the entire CSG process is examined. Plus there is the fact that methane is a more dangerous contributor to warming than carbon dioxide. In the process of extracting gas, there are concerns being voiced by farmers, scientists and environmentalists with regards to the potential degradation of prime and strategic farming lands, and the depletion of underground aquifers. In the gas extraction process underground water also comes to the surface. This water is a 'by-product' of the extraction process. It has to be stored as there are no immediate broad usages for the water due to its salt content. I recently wrote about this issue in a post called 'Salt'  Soil salination is a major worry.

Open cut mines are also a great concern for farmers and environmentalists who are not convinced that prime agricultural land can be rehabilitated, after the lifespan of a mine, to re-instate the richness of soils. A mine's life maybe 20-30 years, whereas some of the farmland in Queensland, which is in jeopardy, could produce food for thousands of years. Farming in Australia has become increasingly ecologically driven. As a farmer's daughter I have witnessed the evolution of farming from often unsustainable practices to sustainable ones. Most farmers love their land, and if they have stock, they love them too! Most farmers are not anti-mining, but they are anti mining on prime and strategic farm land, plus mining without due consideration of water issues.

So, there are a few issues to be examined. A broad one is whether the so called 'cleaner' energy provided by CSG is worth potentially degrading the prime agricultural land which produces food for a growing global population. Is it killing the goose that laid the golden egg? Alternative fuel is a much more attractive idea than alternative food! In this day and age where food and culinary programs on tv, books etc seem to swamp us, I doubt that many people would enjoy the thought of eating alternative food, just so mining could strip the land for so called cleaner energy. 

Back to are required, by law, to adhere to strict regulations with regards to pumping and using water. I've written about this many times before. Water infrastructure is complex and the legalities are not well known in the general population. However,  the mining industry does not fall under the strict regulations required by government water resources departments and legislation! So, whilst a farmer needs to comply with rules regarding pumping from rivers and aquifers, the CSG water 'by-product' does not. Farmers are worried that the water extracted during the CSG process will deplete water levels in the underground aquifers and destabilise pressure, thus restricting use by farmers for such things as drinking water for stock, some irrigation, and domestic use on remote properties/stations and municipal use in remote communities. The potential for across aquifer contamination and introduced contamination is a major concern. Please look the Basin Sustainability Aliance site for predictions on how much water will be potentially extracted from underground aquifers. It is enormous.

So back to risk! It seems to me that risk is a highly nuanced consideration. If I want to jump out of a plane I need to take account of the risk to me, and the potential impact on my family and friends if I smash to the ground. However, the risk is not far reaching beyond the sadness of my family. The risk of degrading prime farmland goes way beyond the 'now' to future generations and their food supply. The risk of depleted or contaminated aquifers is not just about impacts on farmers and communities now, but also into the future...for all.

I am reminded of various things Lord Martin Rees, Royal Astonomer and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, wrote in his book 'Our Final Century' . I have previously written about this book and its influence on my work.

The book is essentially an examination of risk. On pages 7-8 he writes,

It may not be absurd hyperbole—indeed, it may not even be an overstatement—to assert that the most crucial location in space and time (apart from the big bang itself) could be here and now. I think the odds are no better than fifty-fifty that our present civilisation on Earth will survive to the end of the present century. Our choices and actions could ensure the perpetual future of life (not just on Earth, but perhaps far beyond it, too). Or in contrast, through malign intent, or through misadventure, twenty-first century technology could jeopardise life’s potential, foreclosing its human and posthuman future. What happens here on Earth, in this century, could conceivably make the difference between a near eternity filled with ever more complex and subtle forms of life and one filled with nothing but base matter.
Martin Rees, Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future in This Century—On Earth and Beyond (New York: Basic Books, 2003) p.7-8

RISK, gouache on paper ,30 x 42 cm is painted with little $ signs to question 'value'. The underground water, the river depression and the rain falling from the sky are all $ signs. The word RISK is also painted with $ signs. These are red to make an almost SOS or DANGER statement.

Currency, [playing with all ideas of currency] and value are not the same...especially when one thinks of the future...ha!..currency can really only mean NOW. 'Currency' is a play on the idea of money, flow and being current ie: contemporaneousness. If you read Martin Rees's quote, consideration of the future is vastly important.

A scientific risk analysis is very different to one business would consider. Would business ever consider a .05% risk too much? NO. But, in certain circumstances, science would. My impression is that the rush to extract gas and increasingly larger amounts of coal [and other resources] has more to do with business risk than a scientifically based one. My impression is that governments and other players are even applying a business type risk % parametre when considering environmental, health and sustainable food production impacts. However, surely these should be scrutinised with a stringent scientific analysis?

Added 28-1-12
This painting sold just before Christmas.